International Slavery Museum
International Slavery Museum
0151 478 4499
The International Slavery Museum highlights the international importance of slavery, both in a historic and contemporary context. Working in partnership with other museums with a focus on freedom and enslavement, the museum provides opportunities for greater awareness and understanding of the legacy of slavery today.
It is located in Liverpool's Albert Dock, at the centre of a World Heritage site and only yards away from the dry docks where 18th century slave trading ships were repaired and fitted out.
One of the greatest groups of national museums in the world, National Museums Liverpool is ideally placed to elevate this subject onto an international stage. Our previous focus on the issue of slavery, the Transatlantic Slavery Gallery at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, won worldwide recognition and was central to the development of our award-winning work on diversity and outreach.
The new museum opened on 23 August 2007. Not only was this the date of the annual Slavery Remembrance Day, but the year 2007 was particularly significant as it was the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade.
Museum, Campaign or initiative
Open daily 10am-5pm. Closed from 2pm on 24 December and all day on 25 and 26 December and 1 January.
Brutal Exposure: the Congo
- 24 January 2014 — 7 June 2015 *on now
This haunting exhibition presents what was probably the first photographic campaign in support of human rights. It documents the exploitation and brutality experienced by Congolese people under the control of Leopold II of Belgium in the 1900s.
Please note: Brutal Exposure contains content that some visitors may find distressing. Parental guidance is advised.
The photographs, by missionary Alice Seeley Harris, were at the time a radical and significant shift in the representation and understanding of the impact of colonial violence in the Congo, and exposed the deep-rooted hypocrisy of so called 'colonial benevolence' which cost the lives of millions of Congolese. The campaign led to public pressure and international scrutiny of Leopold’s administration, which came to an end in 1909.
Liberty Bound: Slavery and St Helena
- 4 April 2014 — 5 April 2015 *on now
This exhibition focuses on one of the most important archaeological finds of recent times in one of the most remote places on earth.
This is the first ever exhibition to look at the recently re-discovered burial ground containing the remains of 'liberated' Africans in Rupert's Valley, St Helena, in the South Atlantic. Items to go on show at the museum include coins, jewellery, buttons, iron tags and fragments of clothing. These simple finds from archaeological excavations reveal a moving story of the men, women and children that owned these items.
The graveyards were uncovered during archaeological work carried out in advance of an airport development. Between 2007 and 2008 excavations were undertaken by archaeologists from the UK, supported by St Helenian volunteers.
The burial grounds were the final resting grounds for enslaved Africans freed from illegal slave-running vessels, or 'slavers', by the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron in the middle decades of the 19th century. Many enslaved Africans did not survive the trauma of their transportation and died in the British receiving depot at Rupert's Valley. Excavations only uncovered a very small proportion of the estimated 8,000 burials on St Helena.
Although remote geographically, this small valley is of immense cultural and historic significance and the archaeological investigations enhance our understanding of the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies.
This exhibition reveals that liberation could be cruel. For those Africans who survived the ordeal of being enslaved, freedom came with a caveat, as most never saw their homelands again.
- Any age
Between Slavery and Freedom on St Helena
- 4 April 2014 — 1 April 2015 *on now
Between Slavery and Freedom on St Helena explores finds from the slave cemetery on the remote south Atlantic island. This exhibition, funded by the St Helena government, is the first ever to look at the recently discovered graveyards of Africans in Rupert’s Valley on the island.
Unsung - Liverpool's Most Radical Son
- 7 November 2014 — 10 May 2015 *on now
His letter to George Washington exposed his hypocrisy as an owner of slaves and the leader of a country which proclaimed liberty for all but the enslaved. It became a landmark in antislavery campaigning on both sides of the Atlantic.
The display also includes audio recordings of Rushton’s poetry and writings performed by local actors Gillian Kearney, Tayo Aluko and John Davies.
- 20 — 22 February 2015
Discover the meaning and importance of Ghanaian Adinkra symbols and make your own colourful decoration to take home in this fun-filled arts and crafts session.
- 14 — 15 March 2015 1-4pm
Learn more about carnival and make your own colourful headdress to take home.
- 31 January — 1 February 2015
Meet our friendly demonstrator to learn more about traditional West African culture, with objects from our incredible handling collection
- 7 March 2015 1-4pm
- 28 — 29 March 2015 1-4pm
Learn more about beautiful African flowers and make your own colourful blooms to take home!